Cambodia will begin its chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) from January 2022, having set the theme as “ASEAN ACT – “Addressing Challenges Together”.
With the Kingdom’s leadership of the bloc’s “ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community” third pillar, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) will represent Cambodia by highlighting the mid-term review of the implementation of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint 2025, and the priorities and key meetings regarding the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Pillar.
The ASEAN community is comprised of three pillars – the ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC), the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC).
The Socio-Cultural Community Pillar – the third pillar established in 2015 – aims to achieve the full potential of ASEAN nations.
The ASCC works towards:
• A committed, participative and socially responsible community for the benefit of the people of ASEAN;
• An inclusive community that promotes a high quality of life, equitable access to opportunities for all, and promotes and protects human rights;
• A sustainable community that promotes social development and environmental protection;
• A resilient community with enhanced capacity and capability to adapt and respond to social and economic vulnerabilities, disasters, climate change and other new challenges; and
• A dynamic and harmonious community that is aware and proud of its identity, cultures and heritage.
To achieve this, member states are cooperating in a wide range of areas, including culture and the arts, information and media, education, youth, sports, social welfare and development, gender, women’s and children’s rights, rural development and poverty eradication, labour, the civil service, the environment, haze, disaster management and humanitarian assistance, and health.
For Cambodia, the Cambodian Socio-Cultural Community Pillar is led by HE Dr Hang Chuon Naron – National Representative for the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Council of Cambodia and the Minister of Education, Youth and Sport – along with the participations of 11 ministries and institutions in charge of 15 sectoral bodies:
• The National Committee for Disaster Management;
• The Ministry of Women’s Affairs;
• The Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation;
• The Ministry of Environment;
• The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training;
• The Ministry of Civil Service;
• The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts;
• The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport;
• The Ministry of Health;
• The Ministry of Information; and The Ministry of Rural Development.
In 2020, MoEYS led the process of reviewing the mid-term review of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint 2025, with remarkable results.
The Mid-Term Review Working Group was established and began its work in April 2020, studying five components:
• The attribution of activities;
• The effectiveness of implementation;
• Institutional mechanisms;
• The means of implementation; and Resources.
The study of these five components is to examine the outcomes of the five characteristics of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint (ASCC Blueprint), which include:
• Engaging and benefiting the people;
• Resilience; and Dynamics.
The working group used a variety of approaches through quantitative questionnaires and qualitative strategic interviews with related Senior Official Meetings (SOM), focus group discussions, case studies, a study of the success of some key individuals, and a study of relevant documents.
The working group also participated in two coordination meetings on data collection plans organised by the ASEAN Secretariat.
After collecting enough data, the analysis and report writing group began, and finished writing the final report in early September 2020.
As a result, this mid-term review shows that Cambodia is on the right track to implement the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint 2025 and to achieve the successful implementation of this by 2025.
In 2022, Cambodia will be the rotating chair and the host of the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summits.
Since Cambodia became a member of ASEAN in 1999, this is the third time for the Kingdom to take the rotating chair and host the ASEAN Summit, with Cambodia the host of the ASEAN Summit for the first time in 2002 and the second in 2012.
On October 28, 2021, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen officially received the gavel symbolising the ASEAN chairmanship’s authority for the ASEAN Chairmanship in 2022, handed over by Brunei Darussalam, the previous chair of ASEAN, in 2021.
The theme “ASEAN ACT – “Addressing Challenges Together” – aims to encourage ASEAN members to be open, honest, non-partisan and non-discriminatory, to uphold common interests and to continue to promote the building of an ASEAN community in which all people live together in harmony, peace and prosperity.
On this basis, the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Pillar of Cambodia chaired consultation meetings with all sectoral bodies and identified four priority areas:
• Promoting ASEAN values, awareness and identity through education, youth, sport and culture;
• Promoting human resource development and the role of women for long-term economic development;
• Enhancing ASEAN people’s health, wellbeing and social protection in building the ASEAN community;
• Strengthening the ASCC’s institutional capacity and effectiveness.
At the same time, MoEYS outlined three initiatives for the education, youth and sport sectors to be submitted to the ASEAN leaders for approval, with these including:
• The Year of ASEAN Youth 2022;
• ASEAN sports and recreation zone;
• The promotion of traditional sports and games to raise awareness of ASEAN identity.
Other bodies under the umbrella of the Socio-Cultural Community Pillar have also mentioned their respective support and initiatives.
With the ASEAN Chairmanship in 2022, the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Pillar of Cambodia will lead and participate in a number of major meetings, including:
• The Senior Officials Committee for the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (SOCA) Retreat;
• The 16th Coordinating Conference on the ASCC;
• The 5th Meeting of the ASEAN Working Group on the Declaration on Culture of Prevention (CoP) for a Peaceful, Inclusive, Resilient, Healthy and Harmonious Society;
• The 32nd SOCA Meeting;
• The 27th ASCC Council Meeting;
• The 33rd SOCA Meeting; and
• The 28th ASCC Council Meeting.
With the uncertainty of the global health crisis caused by Covid-19, the exact dates and locations of all meetings will be flexible according to the situation at the time.
The Ministry of Education will do its utmost to lead and coordinate with all sectoral bodies under the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Pillar of Cambodia, both nationally and regionally, to assist the Kingdom in successfully implementing the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint 2025 and the priorities set out for the pillars of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, during and after Cambodia’s chairmanship of ASEAN.